Feb 03
Principal's Semester Change Message

As January gives way to February, that is a certain sign we are half way through the school year.  The other obvious sign of that milestone is the delivery of the first semester report card.


Beginning this past Tuesday, students and their parents/guardians have had opportunity to review first semester achievement as measured by Report Card 1.  The purpose of this report card is to provide you with a summary of assessment data in relation to how your child is achieving in each of the major curricular outcomes associated with their subjects.  Teacher comments are intended to give insight as to your child's current learning strengths and identify areas for continual growth.  There will be one more report card at the end of June.  Report Cards will be accessed by logging into your My CBE/PowerSchool account.  Please visit our webpage for further detailed information on accessing report cards at https://school.cbe.ab.ca/school/McKenzieHighlands/Pages/default.aspx.


Our final round of Parent/Teacher/Student Conferences are scheduled for March 10 and 11.  Again, these conferences will be held via Microsoft Teams Meet. Parent/Teacher/Student Conferences are an excellent means to helping teachers and parents to better support students as “action plans" can be developed between school and home to help further set conditions for success.  Also, through these conversations, students come to better understand what is expected of them and the support that is available to help them to realize further success.  These conferences are by appointment only and scheduled through Conference Manager.  Should you experience any difficulty booking appointments, please contact the school's main office.  Please bear in mind that should you ever have any questions or concerns, you are encouraged to contact teachers throughout the remainder of the school year.  Their email address can be found on our website under the tab “About Us."  Additionally, teachers will continue to reach out to you should there be particular concerns.  Further information about booking your conferences can again be found by visiting our website.


In order to further connect you to the learning experience, I encourage you to regularly visit your child's course Brightspace D2L shells.  The link for visiting those shells is contained on our school website at https://school.cbe.ab.ca/school/McKenzieHighlands/Pages/default.aspx.  Brightspace course shells will contain important information about what is currently being studied in class, due dates for homework assignments, and test dates.  Moreover, teachers will upload assignments and additional learning resources to Brightspace.  This will be of particular benefit this year should students be away from class for an extended period of time.  Academic achievement is no longer reported through Brightspace D2L but rather found by visiting your MyCBE PowerSchool account.


This year a focus of our School Development Plan is around literacy, specifically in relation to writing skills.  In order to support students in developing effective writing skills, our staff have committed to implementing specific writing strategies across all curricular areas.  In Math, teachers from grades 4-9 have committed to working with students to improve their ability to use computation skills and estimation strategies while solving multi-step problems. 

Another essential element of our School Development Plan pertains to promoting student well-being in learning.  We are specifically focusing on implementing specific strategies to promote students' resiliency.  Part of this process involved having students complete a self-reflection survey.  As a staff, we are reviewing that survey to ensure that we can meaningfully reflect student voice through individual responses and implement both school-wide structural and cultural initiatives to better support our students.  In support of more intentionally attending to our students' well-being, we have introduced “Legend Time" into our schedule every other Wednesday.  The intention of this structured time block is to give students, under the guidance of a teacher, the opportunity to engage in formalized activities intended to promote greater student resiliency.  Students in Grades 6-9 participate in this 36-minute period every other Wednesday.  At grade 6, it is a homeroom-based activity.  For grades 7-9, it is grade based but homeroom mixed and provides students the opportunity to meet in smaller groupings to work around wellness themes.  It has truly been a neat experience to visit these sessions and observe students working together in support of another and caring for each other during these challenging times. 

I invite you to visit our School Development Plan which can be accessed by visiting our website and can be found by first clicking on the “About Us" tab at the top of our homepage and then clicking on the “Our School" tab.


Again, I would like to thank students, parents, and staff for their continual vigilance in adhering to health and safety protocols to ensure that we all remain safe during COVID-19. Please continue to refer to health screening protocols and remind your children to regularly bring masks to school.


Key highlights of our safety plan for students, staff, and parents include:


  • Students and staff completing the daily health screening assessment before coming to school.
  • Students not arriving at school before 8:15 and promptly leaving the school and school grounds at the end of the day.
  • Students always entering and exiting through their designated entrances/exits.
  • Grades 4-6 students remaining in their homeroom cohort for all classes, including physical education and complementary classes.  Students in grades 7-9 remain in grade cohorts, meaning that they may be in mixed PE classes and complementary classes with students from other homerooms at their grade level.
  • Students are required to wear masks at all times, unless social distancing can be achieved or a medical mask exemption has been obtained.  Masks remain worn during class time as we cannot achieve physical distancing owing to class size and furniture limitations.  Please note that mask breaks are incorporated throughout the day for students while in their homeroom classrooms.  Masks are also required whenever students are travelling through common areas of the school.
  • Students and staff hand-washing whenever entering or exiting their classroom throughout the day.
  • Students must remain in the same assigned seat for all classes.
  • Continual promoting of social distancing
  • Assemblies are not being held and extra-curricular clubs are not running.
  • Volunteers and visitors are permitted, provided they are scheduled and have completed the required COVID screening protocols.


In order to further minimize numbers of people in the hallways, we continue to have a “soft entry," meaning that students can start entering the building as early as 8:15 and go directly to their homeroom classroom for the 8:30 formal start to the day.


As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to call me or email me at kjconnelly@cbe.ab.ca 


Best regards, 


Kel Connelly 



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